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Why You Should Stretch Before & After Exercising

athlete physiotherapy ottawa

If you have decided it is time to get in shape your enthusiasm might get in the way of your plans. It is very common for people returning to an active lifestyle to sustain an injury that can quickly dampen their plans to stay active. Here are some reasons, you should be certain to stretch before and after your exercise, from your local Ottawa physiotherapists:

Prime your Body
You need additional blood and oxygen during a workout. When you perform the proper stretches you allow your body to ease into the workout and begin to provide the additional oxygen, blood and nutrients your muscles need to stay limber. As well it warms up your muscles in preparation of activity which will assist in avoiding injury. Also, it is not enough to just stand and do some stationary stretches. It requires dynamic stretching and a slow buildup of activity to prime your muscles and heart for the workout ahead.

After Exercising
Stretching following exercising is important as well. Unlike your pre-exercise dynamic stretching, following your workout or activity it is best to use static stretches. If you have done an intense work out that really has your heart pumping then it is best to first walk around a bit to allow your body to slow down. Once you have started breathing evenly you can begin static stretches to end your workout.

Proper Stretching
Don’t confuse the no pain no gain anthem of the workout enthusiast as the guide for your stretching. Ottawa physiotherapists always advise their patients to stretch, but not to push themselves too hard as a stretch should never hurt or be pushed beyond a general range of motion. Instead you should feel a bit of comfortable pull. You can hold the stretch for about 60 seconds or until you feel the pulling sensation ease. If you are stretching and it hurts, stop.

Even if you are not active taking stretching breaks throughout the day will help keep you limber. According to Ottawa physiotherapists, simply doing a bit of a toe touch from a sitting position at your desk, standing and reaching for the sky and doing a gentle reach behind your back from side to side can keep blood circulation moving and stop your muscles from tensing up. Neck and shoulder rolls are also excellent stretches to do intermittently throughout the day. When possible you should also get up and walk around for even a few minutes to keep blood flowing.

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